Europe needs clear, united strategy against Russia, Italy minister says

Europe should avoid “grand statements” and contradictions but rather have a clear and unified strategy against Russia with regards to its war in Ukraine, Italy’s defense minister said, adding that Rome would never send troops to the conflict zone.

“The West should avoid grand statements – such as sending NATO to Ukraine trying to make itself look better. Or avoid splitting into meetings of two or three when there are 27 of us in Europe,” Guido Crosetto told the daily la Repubblica on Saturday in an interview, referring to the European Union’s member states.

In order to counter Russia, “a monolith,” Crosetto said Europe needed “a clear, non-contradictory strategy, and perhaps built together as a coalition’.

Supplying Ukraine against Russia

Italy has pledged to supply Kyiv, through 2024, the materials and equipment including weapons that Ukraine needs for its war effort against Russia. It signed a 10-year defence pact in February to support Ukraine, though details of that agreement were not provided.

Crosetto criticized a meeting between Germany, France and Poland held on Friday, saying it was “impractical” to divide the European coalition that was supporting Ukraine.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin meets with young scientists as he visits the centre of the Rocket and Space Corporation ”Energia” in Korolyov outside Moscow, Russia, October 26, 2023. (credit: Sputnik/Grigory Sysoev/Pool via REUTERS)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said after that meeting that Ukraine’s backers would use windfall profits on frozen Russian assets to finance arms purchases for Kyiv.

Though Kyiv needs more ammunition, Crosetto said such decisions needed to be made at EU and NATO-level meetings.

Like Crosetto, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, in a separate interview to Corriere della Sera on Saturday ruled out that Italian troops would ever be sent to Ukraine and said that “our objective is to reach peace, not widen the war.”

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